The last book in the Hunger Games trilogy, this broke completely off from the “formula” of the last two, and quite frankly I thought it was excellent.
Katniss has, beyond all odds, survived two Hunger Games, and is ensconced in the safe, if totalitarian, underground society of District 13. But her home is destroyed, and Peeta is a prisoner of the Capitol. And it soon becomes apparent that District 13 may, in some ways, be just as bad as the Capitol.
Collins dealt with some very heavy material in this book. It’s clear Katniss is still suffering from PTSD. It’s also clear very early on that District 13 is using her just as the Capitol used her. We also see the horrors of war. Strategies begin to look more and more like what the Capitol uses, and the Capitol itself pulls out all the stops. The violence in this is much greater than in the last two books, and some of it is rather disturbing. The descriptions are not excessively graphic, yet I wouldn’t recommend this to any kid not yet in high school.
The tone of this book is even darker, as Katniss slowly loses her hope in humanity as the war rages on. And yet, despite it all, Katniss in some ways manages to cling to her own humanity much better than many people involved. Still, we get a painfully realistic description of what happens to the innocent that get caught up in war.
I won’t give away the ending, but I will say it is rather bittersweet. We get a glimpse of hope, but filled with all the sorrow that has built up over the course of the story.
I give it a 4 out of 5.